Politics & Government

Politics & Government
3:27 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Gov. Snyder signs bills so Michigan cities don't lose revenue

The bipartisan legislation Gov. Rick Snyder signed Friday incorporates a recent deal worked out among his administration, municipalities and business leaders to fully reimburse cities for their lost personal property tax revenue with other state revenue.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation designed to ensure local government budgets aren't hurt if manufacturers and small businesses get planned tax cuts.

A phase-out of taxes on industrial machinery starts in 2016 and is underway for small businesses with equipment. The tax cuts will be halted if a statewide vote fails in August.

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Politics & Government
5:30 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Adopting a child in Michigan could soon get a little easier

Credit Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Parents looking to adopt a child in Michigan could soon have a little less red tape to deal with. That's if Governor Snyder signs off on a package of bills the legislature just passed.  

For parents like Kimberly Naik of Holland, the adoption process started when her son was less than a year old ... and didn't finish until he was three and a half. 

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Politics & Government
3:23 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Final surge in demand in Michigan stresses Obamacare sign-up system

More than 140,000 Michiganders have signed up for new health care plans through Obamacare.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Monday’s Obamacare deadline is pushing many Michiganders to try to sign up for new health insurance plans. But that may overwhelm the groups trying to help get them signed up.

Computer glitches and telephone delays marred the opening of the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act last fall. The surge of demand now, as Monday’s deadline looms, threatens to overwhelm the system again.

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It's Just Politics
3:05 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Politicos must do some fast thinking if they want Rogers’ seat

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

A political stunner slapped all of our political cheeks awake this morning, just like that scene with Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone.

The news? Seven-term Republican Congressman Mike Rogers announced he is retiring from Congress. Retiring from Congress, but not the political circus. He is going to start a national radio show devoted to foreign policy and national defense, which is his bailiwick as the Chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee.

Rogers is also a well-known talking head. Last year, he appeared more than any other elected official on the Sunday morning news circuit. And he’s got the TV sound bites down, just last week on Meet the Press, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin, “goes to bed thinking of Peter the Great and wakes up thinking of Stalin.”

It’s not just how fond he seemed of Congress that is what makes Rogers’, who represents Lansing, Brighton, Howell and parts of Northern Oakland County, announcement so surprising, but his fondness in particular for the House of Representatives. In fact, there was speculation last year that the reason he didn’t jump into the race for Carl Levin’s open Senate seat was because he enjoyed his job in the House so much.

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Breaking
10:33 am
Fri March 28, 2014

US Attorney General says federal government will recognize Michigan same-sex marriages

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Credit U.S. Dept. of Education

The federal government will recognize the marriages of 300 gay and lesbian couples performed last weekend in Michigan before more weddings were blocked by an appeals court. That means they will be able file joint federal tax returns and share federal government benefits.

“I have determined that the same-sex marriages performed last Saturday in Michigan will be recognized by the federal government,” Holder said in a written statement.  “These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages.”

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Breaking
7:05 am
Fri March 28, 2014

US Rep. Mike Rogers won't seek re-election

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee announced his plans on Friday morning during an interview on Detroit radio station WJR-AM.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT – Seven-term Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan says he won't seek re-election.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee announced his plans on Friday morning during an interview on Detroit radio station WJR-AM. He says he'll serve out the end of his term and plans to start a national radio program.

Last year, Rogers had said he would not run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan this year, saying the best way for him to make a difference in Washington is staying in the House.

Politics & Government
6:00 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Flint to pressure water customers to pay their overdue bills

Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley says this is about more than paying old bills. He says it’s about charging what it costs to operate the city’s water system.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Flint officials will soon be more aggressive about getting people and businesses to pay their water bills.

Right now, the Flint water department is dealing with 30 to 40 water main breaks at any one time. That’s primarily the fault of the brutal winter weather.

But the water department has another problem and it has to do with inflow of cash.

Emergency manager Darnell Earley says the city is going to start putting more pressure on homeowners and businesses with delinquent water bills.

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Politics & Government
6:23 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

MSU could lose $500k for offering labor courses

makzhou Flickr

Michigan State University could risk losing $500,000 if it does not stop offering courses that allegedly promote unionization.

A state Senate panel approved a measure Thursday banning courses at public universities that promote or discourage organizing efforts. It’s a reaction to MSU’s recent decision to take over some programs from the National Labor College.

Republicans say those courses violate the proposed rule.

“I believe in academic freedom, and you’re going to have difficult subjects that you’re going to cover at any university,” said state Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, who chairs the panel that directs higher education funding in the House. 

“But this is a case where I think we’re almost encouraging labor disputes, and I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

The only Democrat that sits on the Senate panel that approved the penalty says it’s unusual for lawmakers to scrutinize university programs this intensely.

“Why just this program?” asked state Sen. Morris Hood III, D-Detroit. “And I would guess to believe that this is a hot topic item and it ruffles a lot of feathers.”

An MSU official says the university’s curriculum is balanced. He says it also offers classes that educate businesses on labor issues.

Pscholka says lawmakers will probably decide whether to move forward with the $500,000 penalty when they return from a three-week break in April.

Weekly Political Roundup
5:37 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Could the same-sex marriage debate impact the 2014 election?

Weekly Political Roundup interview 3/27/2014

This week, host Jennifer White discusses the latest developments in same-sex marriages in Michigan and their impact on the 2014 elections. She is joined by Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Michigan Inside Politics.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. On Saturday, more than 300 couples rushed to speak their vows before the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay on Judge Friedman’s ruling until further deliberation. Yesterday, Gov. Rick Snyder stated that while the marriages performed over the weekend were legal, they cannot be officially recognized by the state due to the current law.

Ken Sikkema indicates that while it may be politically challenging for Gov. Snyder, his position will be to comply with the law.

“I think at the end of the day, his position is going to be, as it is today, ‘I’m going to comply with the law,' whatever the law is, finally resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court."

Meanwhile, Susan Demas mentions that although Attorney General Bill Schuette has been vocal about his opposition to same-sex marriage, he did not address the issue in his campaign reelection announcement last week.

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Politics & Culture
4:38 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, March 27, 2014

When you think "Michigan," you think tourism, right? Or, for some, maybe it's Tim Allen telling you about the state's open roads, fall colors, glistening lakes. Tourism means big business for the mitten. We look at how the changing climate might impact what more than 4.4 million out-of-state visitors will be able to do and enjoy when they come to the Great Lakes State. 

 Then, we spoke with Michigan author Laura Kasischke about her latest novel, Mind of Winter. And Daniel Howes joined us for our weekly check-in, to discuss Mary Barra and the ghost of GM's past. Also, women are underrepresented in the  STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, but there is one University of Michigan student group trying to change that. And, we are one week into spring but still getting snow. Meterologist Jim Maczko spoke with us about when we can expect warmer weather.  First on the show, we are closing in on the deadline to purchase health insurance or face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act. 

Erin Knott is the Michigan Director of Enroll America, a non-profit, non-partisan group trying to get people enrolled in health insurance.

Erin joined us today to discuss the upcoming deadline. 

Stateside
4:18 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

The deadline to buy insurance draws closer

It's time to purchase insurance or face a fine.
user striatic Flickr

We are closing in on the deadline to purchase health insurance or face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act. Erin Knott is the Michigan Director of Enroll America, a non-profit, non-partisan group trying to get people enrolled in health insurance.

Erin joined us today to discuss the upcoming deadline. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
11:53 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Democrats ask for recognition of recent gay marriages in Michigan

The Rev. Bill Freeman signs marriage licenses and performs cermonies at Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Muskegon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan's congressional Democrats are asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for federal recognition of the more than 300 same-sex marriages performed in the state this past weekend. The letter is signed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, and Reps. John Dingell, Sander Levin, Gary Peters and Dan Kildee.

A judge ruled last Friday that Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, but the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on further same-sex weddings while it deliberates the Michigan marriage case.

Yesterday, Gov. Snyder said the marriages performed over the weekend in Michigan are legal, but they cannot be officially recognized by the state because of current law. Here's what he said:

In January, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the government would honor same-sex marriages in Utah in a case very similar to Michigan's. The Justice Department so far has said it's monitoring the situation in Michigan.

Politics & Government
5:04 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Gay couples in Michigan go from elation to a state of limbo

Rick Pluta

That's the status of same-sex couples in Michigan who had hoped to marry after last Friday's ruling from federal judge Bernard Friedman, a ruling that struck down Michigan's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

More than 300 couples rushed to speak their vows on Saturday before the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of Judge Friedman's ruling until appeals proceedings conclude.

And now we have heard from Gov. Rick Snyder about those couples. He said the state will not recognize those marriages.

MLive writer Jonathon Oosting joined us today.

Politics & Culture
4:58 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The number of adults who smoke cigarettes is the lowest it's been in decades: 19% in 2010, compared to more than double that in 1965.

But now there are e-cigarettes, and it seems the use of these battery-powered nicotine inhalers is growing faster than science can keep up.

We explore the health risks of so-called "vaping" and what the state is doing to keep e-cigs out of the hands of children.

But first on today’s show, from elation to a state of limbo.

That's the status of same-sex couples in Michigan who had hoped to marry following last Friday's ruling from federal judge Bernard Friedman, a ruling that struck down Michigan's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

More than 300 couples rushed to speak their vows on Saturday before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of Judge Friedman's ruling until appeals proceedings conclude.

And now we have heard from Governor Rick Snyder about those couples. He said the state will not recognize those marriages.

MLive writer Jonathon Oosting joined us today.

Politics & Government
4:56 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Michigan lawmakers urge Congress to require a balanced federal budget

user cedarbenddrive Flickr

Michigan is joining at least 17 other states in calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On Wednesday, the state Senate gave final approval to a resolution formally asking Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider the amendment. It would take 34 total states to compel Congress to call a constitutional convention.

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Stateside
4:45 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

How Michigan is trying to keep e-cigarettes out of minors' hands

An e-cig.
Lindsay Fox Flickr

You may have seen someone firing one up in a restaurant – where you thought smoking was banned. Maybe a friend or relative uses them. Or maybe you have tried to kick a cigarette habit by using one: an electronic cigarette.

These are the battery-powered inhalers that are loaded with a replaceable or refillable cartridge of liquid “juice” that can contain nicotine, solvents and flavors.  Puffing on an e-cig is called “vaping.” And there’s little doubt vaping is here to stay.

Sales of e-cigs have grown from around $500 million in 2012 to around $1.5 billion last year. 

Right now, there’s no regulation on e-cigs, beyond the FDA telling e-cig makers they may not market their products as a way to quit smoking.  And there’s nothing to keep the e-cigs from being sold to minors.

That has ignited debate in Lansing.

Associated Press reporter Emma Fidel has been looking into the state’s efforts to keep e-cigs out of the hands of kids under age 18.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
1:59 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Gov. Snyder says Michigan won't recognize same-sex marriages

Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan won't recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed last weekend.

The marriages were performed Saturday before a federal appeals court suspended a decision that overturned the state's ban on gay marriage. Snyder's announcement Wednesday closes the door to certain benefits granted to Michigan married couples. The move comes a day after an appeals court indefinitely stopped any additional same-sex marriages.

Snyder says the marriages were legal at the time but the stay means the ban now is back in effect.

Politics & Culture
4:23 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Balanced Budget Amendment making the federal government not spend more than it takes in: It sounds pretty good. Get rid of those trillions and trillions of dollars of national debt. But one economist says that's not necessarily a great plan.

Then, it feels like we hear about recalls everyday, from food, to cars, to toys. They make news, but are consumers facing so-called recall fatigue? Are there just so many recalls that we've started to tune them out?

And, you don't have to hunt too far to find critics of our schools, of the way our children are learning, what they're learning and the achievement gap within our classrooms. But are we placing too much pressure on teachers when we expect them to fix these problems?

Also, it’s official. Merriam-Webster now recognizes “Yooper” as a word.

First on the show, for years there’s been talk that Michigan needs to put more money into its roads.

Gov. Snyder has said he wants at least $1.2 billion annually for road maintenance and repair.

A new report says the state needs closer to $2 billion a year.

But negotiations at the state Capitol stalled – until the last few weeks.

Earlier this month, some $200 million was OK’d in a supplemental budget. It looks like another deal could be in the works.

Now word on the street is that this is not some grand bargain. Instead, there are reports that the amount would be closer to $300-400 million. It’s a start, but why now?

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s political analyst, and he joined us today.

Stateside
3:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Will a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution cure our national debt?

An interview with Charles Ballard, an economist with Michigan State University

Michigan could soon join about 20 states that are formally calling for a national convention to draft a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Michigan itself has a balanced budget requirement, but not so for the federal government.

This idea of a balanced budget amendment has really taken off in the past few years as the nation’s debt has increased.

Charles Ballad is an economist with Michigan State University, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
12:15 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Bills deleting 'retarded' from laws go to Snyder

State Capitol building, Lansing, Michigan
Ifmuth Flickr

LANSING – The terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" will be removed from state laws under legislation being sent to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The bills incorporate a recent recommendation from a mental health commission appointed by Snyder. The bipartisan legislation strikes references to outdated language from various statutes and replaces them with terms such as "developmentally disabled" or "intellectually disabled."

The legislation unanimously passed the House and Senate this month and was approved by the Senate for delivery to Snyder Tuesday.

Democratic bill sponsor Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor says it's "a fundamental first step" toward "ensuring everyone in our state is treated with the dignity and the respect they deserve."

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